A Call to Help the Children

In this week’s parshah, Abram is put to the first test. He is told to leave his homeland and go to the “land which I will show you.” He packs up all of his possessions, including his wife, his cattle, his servants and slaves and his tents. He then leaves his homeland and goes to… Read More

A New Beginning

This Shabbat we read parshat Noah, and the haftorah is from the Book of Isaiah. In parshat Noah, God floods the earth because of the bad behavior of the people. He tells the prophet Noah to build an ark and fill it with a male and a female of every animal and bring them on… Read More

The Choices We Make

This Shabbat, we read the beginning of the Torah, Parashat Bereishit. This text is about creation. On the first day, God created light and darkness. Each day God created something new such as the waters, the grass and the trees. After that, He created the sun, the moon and the stars, followed by birds in… Read More

The Light That Is Israel

This week’s haftarah is from the Book of Isaiah, chosen because it refers to the creation of the world. In the Torah portion, G-d creates light and darkness for the entire universe. In the haftarah, Isaiah says, “I will turn darkness before them to light.” Here, the darkness refers to the Israelites not obeying G-d’s… Read More

First, We Must Perfect Ourselves

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This magnificent three-week festival period — Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot — may be viewed and experienced in two dimensions simultaneously: the universalist, nationalist dimension and the particularistic, individual family dimension. Rosh Hashanah is the day on which the world was born, when the sigh-sob truah sound of the shofar cries out against the tragedies… Read More

Following in the Acts of Our Creator

Yom Kippur is one of the most observed days in Jewish culture. The power of the day is awesome. The reality of its importance is known. The stir of thoughts and emotions leading up to it help us create the awareness of the day. One of the most central principles to Yom Kippur is asking… Read More

Nursing Them With Honey From the Rock

I’ve always thought it curious that it is customary on the holiday of Shavuot to eat foods made of sweet dairy — cheese blintzes, cheesecake and so on. In all my childhood and adult years, I never heard a reason for this that made sense. One year, in my reading of this week’s parshah, an… Read More

In the Good Old Days

It was the kind of thing you would hear from old men: “Things just ain’t the way they used to be.” “This new generation is going to hell in a hand basket.” “I remember when things were different and better, back in the good old days!” Now that I am becoming a bit older myself,… Read More

We Are What We Remember

The last paragraph of Ki Tetze is the maftir reading in non-Reform congregations on the Shabbat before Purim. Its opening word, zachor, remember, names that Shabbat. “Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey after you left Egypt — how, undeterred by fear of God, he surprised you on the march, when you were… Read More

The Participant Observer

I have had a long and abiding interest in the process by which we make decisions. Long ago, I was taught that the best way to make a decision is to impartially examine all of the relevant facts. Impartiality guarantees objectivity. Sadly, however, we are seldom truly impartial, and therefore, our ability to make objective… Read More